2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV

The 2023 GMC Sierra comes in a dizzying array of configurations and powertrains so you can get the truck that’s best for you. The AT4 and AT4X trims are for off-roading, and GMC says the AT4X AEV Edition is the most off-road capable Sierra ever made.

Base Price: $81,700
As Tested: $90,935
Horsepower: 420
Mileage: 14 mpg city/17 mpg highway/15 mpg combined

The Sierra got a much-needed update for the 2022 model year. It had been redesigned for 2019 but still lagged behind the competition at that time with subpar cabin quality and tech. For 2023, the Sierra 1500 gets some minor tweaks including some added safety features on the off-road AT4X trim as well as the addition of a new AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) Package on the AT4X that beefs up off-road capabilities that includes a front winch and additional front steel skid plates.

While the Sierra is still not the class leader when it comes to towing, hauling and luxurious features, it’s a well-rounded truck and is worth consideration if you want a full-size, half-ton pickup.

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 comes in eight trims: Pro, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, AT4X, Denali and Denali Ultimate. Starting prices range from $38,195 to $82,295. My tester has the AEV package which is nearly $7,000.

There are three cab configurations: regular, double and crew. The regular cab has room for three. The double is basically a smaller version of the crew cab. Both it and the crew cab have room for five or six passengers, depending on whether you get bucket seats or bench seating in the front row. There are three bed lengths, 5.8, 6.6 and 8.2 feet, depending on the cab configuration. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is available on the lower trims and standard on the upper trims.

There are four different engines and two different transmissions. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.7-liter that produces 310 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed transmission. Two V8s are available. The 5.3-liter makes 355 horses and 383 pound-feet. The 6.2-liter churns out 420 hp and 460 pound-feet. And then there’s a new six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that makes 305 horsepower and 495 pound-feet. The V8s and diesel are paired with a 10-speed automatic.

My tester has the bigger V8. Acceleration is vigorous brisk from a stop, and also when you’re speeding up for merging and passing at freeway speeds. The 10-speed shifts smoothly and accurately. Steering and braking are responsive. There’s some body roll when cornering and the ride can get bumpy over rough roads. Visibility can be challenging due to the large hood and thick side pillars. The available surround-view camera helps. While there’s no forgetting that this is a large truck, the Sierra is pleasant to drive which is good since many use their pickups as daily drivers.

The Sierra 1500 doesn’t quite have the off-road chops of the Ford F-150 Raptor but it’s still very capable. The AT4X has all of the off-road features found on the AT4, such as four-wheel drive, two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, upgraded suspension with two-inch lift, adjustable traction control, skid plates, all-terrain tires, and recovery  hooks, and adds electronic front and rear locking differentials and off-road adaptive dampers. The AT4X AEV Edition includes stronger skid plates, steel bumpers and bigger tires.

Fuel economy is about what you’d expect for a half-ton pickup. EPA ratings for my tester are 14 mpg city and 17 mpg highway with a combined rating of 15. I got 15 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The diesel engine gets the best mileage with the rear-wheel-drive model rated at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway/26 combined.

When properly equipped, the Sierra can tow as much as 13,200 pounds and carry a payload of up to 2240 pounds, depending on the trim and engine.

The MultiPro tailgate is handy as has six configurations including a standing workstation and step entry/exit mode to make it easy to get up in the bed. Optional bed features include an in-bed audio system, 120-volt household-style plug, and LED lighting.

The interior is greatly improved over older models but the Ram and Ford F-150 are more upscale. Seats in are comfortable and supportive even on long drives. The cavernous crew cab provides plenty of room for taller adults, even in the second row. I joked that my front seat passenger was in another zip code from me. Controls are logically laid out and include lots of physical buttons and knobs.

Standard features include remote keyless entry, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system (two speakers in regular cab models), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and USB port.

Available features include proximity keyless entry, remote start, surround view camera system, head-up display, rear camera mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, console-mounted safe, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 13.4-inch touchscreen, seven-speaker Bose audio system, 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, Google Maps integration, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, additional USB ports, Wi-Fi hot spot, power sunroof, interior 120-volt household-style power outlet, and a universal garage door opener.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear-seat reminder, and Teen Driver which lets you set limits on speed and audio volume for your young drivers.

Available driver assistance technologies include lane change alert, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, Super Cruise partially autonomous driving system, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and safety alert seat.

The infotainment system is user-friendly and looks great. My tester has the 13.4-inch high-res touchscreen with Google compatibility. The system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. The voice recognition system works particularly well and you can use it for common commands such as adjusting climate settings or changing the radio station.

The good:

Four different engine choices

Available with several different cab and bed sizes

Decent fuel economy for the class

Off-roading trims are available

Roomy and comfortable cabin

User-friendly infotainment system

Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Ride can be bumpy on rougher roads

Not as luxurious as top rivals

The price gets spendy for the off-road trims

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $81,700. The AEV Edition package is $6,895 and includes AEV hot-stamped Boron steel skid plates, front approach, steering gear, transfer case, rear differential, AEV stamped-steel rear bumper, 12-spoke high gloss black Aluminum wheels with AEV, rocker protection, AEV all-weather floor liners, AEV branded front head restraints and tailgate decal. The Deep Bronze Metallic paint is $495. There’s a $50 credit as the test vehicle was not equipped with the steering column lock. Destination charge is $1,895 bringing the grand total to $90,035.

Bottom line:

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 is available with several different powertrains, cab configurations and off-road features so you can get the truck that meets your needs. While the Sierra may not be quite up there with the class leaders, the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500, when it comes to towing and hauling, it’s still a capable and versatile truck. If off-roading is your thing, the AT4 and AT4X trims have everything you need for your outdoor adventures.

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